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America Police State: New York’s smoking ban extended to parks and beaches

Posted on: June 3, 2011

News travels fast in these globalised times, but not so fast that New York’s latest smoking ban covering all its 1,700 parks and 14 miles of beaches had reached Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province in China. Just hours after the new prohibition came into force, Fan Yon Tao, Nanjing resident and New York tourist, stood at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park nonchalantly puffing on a Marlboro.

Yon Tao promptly stubbed out the cigarette and carefully placed it in a litter bin when informed by the Guardian that he had just performed an unlawful act liable to a $50 fine. “No smoking! Good, good!”, he exclaimed in rudimentary English.

No smoking good, even though he smokes?

“Yes! No smoking good! I want to stop!”

The extension of the New York smoke-free air act is Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s biggest clampdown on smoking since he banned the habit from restaurants and bars in 2002. It forms the latest step in an ever lengthening litany of health measures that most New Yorkers have approved, though some have decried as turning their beloved city into a nanny state.

On the back of the 2002 ban have come the outlawing of trans fats from restaurants, an obligation on fast food chains to reveal the calorie count of their meals, and attempts to persuade food manufacturers to cut back on salt.

The city council claims great victories on the back of these and other initiatives. On smoking, the number of New Yorkers who smoke has fallen by about 350,000 since 2002, though the number of smokers remains at almost a million adults and 18,000 teenagers.

The new ban puts New York back at the top of the league of major US cities with tough health laws. Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco all have restrictions on smoking in parks, though Bloomberg’s will be the toughest yet.

Under its terms, you may not smoke in: any of the cities parks, including Central and Prospect Parks; pedestrian plazas, such as Times and Herald Squares; beaches and boardwalks; golf courses; and sporting stadiums.

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1 Response to "America Police State: New York’s smoking ban extended to parks and beaches"

Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses of smokers..

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